Mumbai - Steel Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh said the ministry was focusing on converting thermal coal into coking coal which is considered to be an important ingredient of steel making.
"Some sort of innovation showed thermal coal can be used as coking coal. For that, we wanted private sector to put up their washeries at the pit-head. If, by 2020, at least 20 washeries would be in place....30% of coal available in India as identified or categorised as thermal coal can be converted into coking coal and the country would be saving about Rs 10,000-12,000 crore of foreign currency," the minister said.
According to him, 80-85% of coking coal, an important component of steel making, has been imported. Of the total imports, 80-85% comes from Australia.
In the last three year, the steel industry is in stress due to dumping of imported steel from China and other countries and prices crashing.
"When we put minimum import price and anti-dumping duty, some improvements were noticed in the production and also in the market," said Birender Singh.
He also said palletisation is also on the minsitry's focus and it is a focus area.
Speaking on the steel companies referring for insolvency cases, he said, "...you saw the list of 12 companies which will be going into insolvency proceeding. Of the 12 identified companies, 6-7 were of steel sector. I hope they would sort out their own level.
"This enactment would give a new direction to the industry itself that you cannot inflate your projects by taking loans to that extent and do not remain in the situation for repayments."